And temperature? There is a role for the manipulation of temperature here, isn’t there?
Definitely. Change of temperature: the holding areas were generally kept at an acceptably cold level. Not freezing. But don’t forget that in the Falklands, we were holding prisoners in below zero. Sometimes outside. There was nowhere else to do it…
What about ‘stress positions’ – wall standing, and how long it can be used?
‘Stress position’ is the wrong word. It is a position which is uncomfortable, it is designed to make the guy more tired. Also, why the hell do I want to prop up a wall, sit on the ground with my hands on my head, when I could be sitting talking to a nice guy having a cup of tea? The whole aim of this is to condition these people to talk to the interrogators. All to do with conditioning. Now if people were hallucinating, we knew they were hallucinating. We could see that they were hallucinating. Their position would be changed, they would be given a break. Even down south, when we had the few prisoners down there, we could see people hallucinating or becoming agitated. It’s not in our best interest to keep going. It is in our best interest to break that hallucination or agitation and sit him down, stand him up or whatever.
This kind of training lasts for 24 hours?
They could hallucinate in that time?
The hallucination occurs when they are hooded.
Candidates are still hooded on E and E courses?
Oh, yeah .
I thought the British Army was no longer allowed to use hoods?
No. In training on our own guys. And in war.
Did it happen in the Falklands?
Of course! We’ve got a large room here, we want to isolate these people. Generally no more than 12 hours. By then they were sucked dry anyway.
In Ireland in 1971, the subjects were in trouble: one was kept hooded and standing for 49 hours
He can prove that?
Yes. That’s a long period…
Well, he probably didn’t talk. He was probably an important person. I mean 48 hours, yeah. You go as long as you have to depending on how important that person is.
Why would some have been left standing for shorter periods?
They probably chatted. This is one of the things. It’s not the ‘Irish Republican TEA PARTY’, is it? It’s the ‘Irish Republican ARMY’. If you’re gonna be in the ARMY, play the big boys’ rules. I don’t have a problem with that. That was the way they wanted to fight that war and I don’t have a problem with that. But if you get caught by the security forces, then you abide by the security forces’ rules. Because that’s the big boys rules in this war that we’re fighting. I think there was a book called that. I’m not going to say ‘play by the rules’. But I am going to say ‘If you get caught by the security forces, expect the full weight to come down on you.’ It’s very interesting that the IRA were very clever at undermining the interrogation that went on in Northern Ireland.
They certainly used to train their people to resist. No doubt about that. If you talked to some of these people, you knew they would resist. It wasn’t really interrogation, it was screening. They couldn’t be in our hands for more than 4 hours anyway, and then they were handed over to the RUC.
One senior RUC officer told me that the procedures worked very effectively at the start – but when the press broke the story and the enhanced interrogations were stopped the intelligence take just seeped away?
Correct. Absolutely. And this is the value of the whole psychology of interrogation. People fear interrogation. They always have. And I’m not denying that we kept up the pretence: ‘This is a really nasty thing to happen’. The fact is that when you go through SAS combat selection, if they don’t get through the interrogation, they don’t get into the SAS – or the SBS. They just don’t get in. So it has a real fear factor. But the reality is that we’re training people not to talk. Then you get someone like **** **** [a very famous SAS soldier-turned-author] who sings his way through supper, there you go…
It has a fear factor. But interrogation has always had a fear factor, possibly going back to the Inquisition.
Did they teach you about that?
Yes. We went through a lot of history. When I was instructing it was important to know a bit about interrogation and its history, going back as far as you possibly can.
Tags: Abu Ghraib, All Arms Combat Survival Course, Brainwash: The Secret History of Mind Control, Brainwashing, British Army, Camp 020 Film, Counter-Interrogation Training, Escape and Evasion, Five Techniques, Geneva Convention, Guantanamo Bay, Hooding, Interrogation Techniques, IRA, Iraq, JFK Special Warfare Centre, Joint Services Interrogation Wing, Korean War, MI5, Northern Ireland, Royal Intelligence Corps, RUC, Sensory Deprivation, Sodium Pentothal, Stress Positions, The Shock of Capture, Torture, US Military, USAF Survival School, White Noise